Originally created 09/12/99

Augusta arts tenure was fulfilling experience

By the time you read this, I'll be packing boxes, cleaning floors and making the refrigerator fit for human use.

After roughly 22 months as The Chronicle's arts and entertainment writer, I'm moving on to write for a Web-based service in Atlanta.

For the most part it was an enjoyable ride, give or take a prima donna performer, complaints about the arts-events calendar, the doldrums of summer and the hassles of arranging photographs of events that hadn't happened yet.

This much is certain: It was a learning experience and one I'll never forget.

I learned more about opera, ballet, classical music, venue operations, board politics, the movie business and interviewing performers than I ever imagined I would.

And there were those moments that got me really excited, those moments that made me think, "Hey, Augusta does have a viable arts scene, and this is a pretty good job to be writing about it."

Sure beats the hell out of covering the school board.

It's fun to watch TV or listen to the radio and see or hear someone I've interviewed. Robert Goulet, James Brown, the Goo Goo Dolls, Katarina Witt, John Berendt, Ray Bradbury, D.L. Hughley -- those are just a few of the big-time arts and entertainment stars I've had the pleasure to speak with.

But not everybody would talk -- B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Tom Jones, Kirk Franklin and a certain hometown opera star. Here's one last raspberry to Jessye Norman, who wouldn't grant me an interview on more than one occasion.

During my tenure here, I regret that I didn't get to know Augustans better and didn't exercise chances to attend more local performances. But honestly, one person can only do so much and be in so many places at one time. I did the best I could and tried to spread coverage out evenhandedly.

Even though I'll be in Atlanta, it is my hope that Augusta will soon get a spanking new performing arts center the city can be proud of, coupled with increased support (via attendance) from the public for the arts scene.

Since I mentioned my mom in a couple of previous columns, my dad recently lobbied for some space. So here goes: Dad I think I inherited your creative side and would have never been able to do this job without it.

Thanks Dad, thank you, The Augusta Chronicle, for giving me the opportunity, and thank you, Augusta arts and entertainment organizations, performers and professionals.

I'd love to come back to the Garden City someday to see a top-flight show or concert at a sparkling performance venue overlooking the Savannah River. So, if anyone wants to entice me back with Masters badges, I can be reached at Kentthe1@aol.com.

Here's to a successful 1999-2000 arts and entertainment season.


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